A Texas widow and her family have filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase and others, alleging that their efforts to refinance their mortgage with the bank only resulted in foreclosure, heartache and her husband’s fatal heart attack.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that she and her late husband had paid their mortgage dutifully for 22 years when in Feb. 2010 they received a letter from Chase about refinancing their loan at a lower interest rate.
If you’ve read your fair share of these stories, you probably know what comes next.
According to the complaint, an employee at their local Chase bank instructed the couple to miss a payment in order to qualify for the refinancing.
“Trusting [that employee's] counsel as a Chase representative, the [plaintiffs] missed a single payment as instructed,” reads the lawsuit. “After skipping the payment as advised… the [homeowners] received a letter from Chase advising them that they were not eligible for a loan modification and that the mortgage had to be brought current immediately.”
Soon, the homeowners were allegedly being told their house was at risk for foreclosure, “then that the home had been foreclosed upon, then an eviction notice was sent, and finally, a personal representative of Chase physically went to the… home, knocked on the [the plaintiffs'] door, and enforced the eviction notice.”
The lawsuit states that the homeowners had made several attempts to meet with the original Chase employee who had instructed them to skip the payment. Their daughter alleges that she waited in the lobby with her parents on several occasions, but to no avail.
“On one of those occasions, [the employee] eventually met with them and handed them a piece of paper with a figure on it,” reads the lawsuit. “[He] said ‘just pay this amount.'”
The homeowners say they then paid that amount but that this payment did nothing to stop the foreclosure process.
After receiving an eviction notice, the husband “changed dramatically,” claims the lawsuit. “He was overcome with stress and fear, and was terrified at the thought of losing his and [his wife]‘s home of more than 20 years. His once positive outlook was gone.”
Then in July 2010, he collapsed while having a heart attack and died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Since then, the bank has taken possession of the house and changed the locks. The lawsuit states that the residence is still unoccupied.
The lawsuit claims that the homeowners only did what any reasonable person would do when given instructions by their mortgage servicer — that “complying with a lender’s advice should be safe and should not put them at risk from the lender.”
“Chase made illegal, negligent and fraudulent representations… so that it could secure a loan modification entitling Chase to benefits and financial incentives that the government was providing lenders to make loan modifications,” alleges the lawsuit.
Among the charges being hurled at Chase are wrongful death, wrongful foreclosure, trespass, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, fraudulent inducement and deceptive trade.
This tale is all too similar to the story of the California homeowner who was left so distraught after years of fighting Wells Fargo and Wachovia over a possibly fraudulent foreclosure that he eventually committed suicide. Just like in this situation, the homeowners were not trying to get a modification in order to escape foreclosure or get out from an underwater mortgage. Both pairs of homeowners were sold a bill of goods by bank employees, only to end up trapped in the maze that only seems to punish homeowners.
Bank Killed Minister, Evicted Wife, Family Says in Foreclosure Horror [Courthousenews.com]